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50 years since the start of BAM construction

April 23, 2024, The Kremlin, Moscow

The President took part in a gala event celebrating 50 years since the start of the Baikal-Amur Railway construction and presented state decorations.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends,

I would like to congratulate you on an important and impressive anniversary – the construction of the unique transport route, the legendary Baikal-Amur Railway, started half a century ago.

This project was historically conditioned for our country. The first proposals on transport development of the Trans-Baikal and Amur regions were made in the 19th century. The geography of the future grandiose construction site was studied in the early 20th century and the course was even marked out. Some sections were laid before the Great Patriotic War and in post-war years.

A full-scale construction of the railway was launched in April 1974. It was then that the BAM was declared a top priority constructions project at the 17th Komsomol (Young Communist League) Congress, and the first team of volunteers was formed.

This event and the very idea, clearly steeped with the romanticism of creation and enthusiasm of the young, inspired practically the whole country. As we remember, people wrote poems and sang songs. “Listen, the time is humming: it is the BAM.” These and other lines of the then popular songs reflected the feelings of hundreds of thousands of people. They left homes to build this legendary railway, having chosen the destiny of trailblazers.

I will repeat that the BAM had really become a national, all-Union project. Teams from hundreds of plants and factories, research centres and design bureaus from all Soviet republics had taken its facilities under patronage.

About two million people were involved in this project. For many of them, the construction of the BAM and later working there became their life-work, the apotheosis of their dreams, work, courage, the calling of many generations of families and, of course, a real feat without any exaggeration.

Working in impassable swamps, taiga, on the rocks and in permafrost conditions, our builders were laying kilometres of steel tracks, resolving incredibly challenging problems, and implementing entirely new constructive, engineering and technical solutions.

There are participants in the BAM construction present here. These people carried out one of the world’s biggest infrastructure projects of the entire 20th century. They laid a transport artery that was vital for the country.

The BAM played a major role in the exploration of the Eastern Siberia, the Far East, and our North, making it possible to develop rich deposits of coal, iron ore, tin, gold, copper, molybdenum, oil and gas, and to use this powerful raw material base for the operation of integrated plants and factories and, for the long-term development of national industry.

At the turn of the century, the BAM helped open the Asian-Pacific markets to the Russian economy, provided a reliable transit route for entire Eurasia, and, in conjunction with the Trans-Siberian Railway, became a truly strategic transport corridor of not only national but also global significance.

This year, the carrying capacity of the BAM will reach almost 42 million tonnes. Over the last 12 years, it has tripled, and the volume of freight traffic on the BAM keeps growing.

This year, we are launching the next, third stage of the development of the BAM and the Trans-Siberian Railway and increasing the capacity of the Eastern Operating Domain. This strategic decision has been made, and the necessary regulatory documents have been issued by the Government. Of course, now it is time for practical implementation. But, in fact, work is already underway.

Like our predecessors, we are implementing this project using advanced technologies and engineering solutions. We will create additional demand for the products made by domestic engineering and metallurgical enterprises, as well as for the services of the construction industry and a number of other industries.

Let me stress that it is necessary to not only remove bottlenecks. The task is now much larger: it is necessary to lay continuous second tracks along the entire length of the BAM, putting into operation more than 300 infrastructure facilities, including backups of the Severomuisky, Kuznetsovsky and Kodarsky tunnels, as well as a bridge across the Amur.

In the next ten years, the volume of traffic along the Eastern Operating Domain's railway network must reach 270 million tonnes per year. Thus, it will make it easier to explore natural resources in zone of the Baikal-Amur Mainline and the Trans-Siberian Railway and will give a powerful boost to launching industrial complexes, creating modern jobs, and developing social infrastructure in Eastern Siberia and Russia’s Far East.

In this regard, let me stress that we will give special focus to improving the quality of life of people in the BAM communities. Tynda and Severobaikalsk, the BAM “capitals,” will have a long-term development based on well-designed master plans. We owe much to the people there.

And, of course, the further development of the BAM will help step up Russia’s export and transit capacities as an essential link in the Eurasian transport system.

I believe that we will implement all the plans we have set and do it for the prosperity of Russia and our people.

Once again, congratulations to you all on the anniversary of the start of the BAM construction. I would like to thank the BAM veteran builders. I wish the current and future generations of builders and railway workers success and great achievements. And I am certainly very pleased today to present state decorations to the labour teams, to people who dedicated themselves and their lives to creating the BAM and working there.

Thank you for your attention.


Chairman of the Board of Directors of Bamtonnelstroy-Most Ruslan Baisarov: Mr President,

It is a great honour for us and also a great responsibility.

Bamtonnelstroy was established in 1975 by order of the USSR Ministry of Transport Construction to build all the tunnels as part of the Baikal-Amur Mainline. Many tunnel and bridge builders became accomplished professionals during that construction project of the century – and today, they are part of the Bamtonnelstroy team.

Over the last fifty years, our specialists have built more than 3,000 unique infrastructure facilities for the benefit of our country.

As seasoned tunnel builders, the Bamtonnelstroy team marked 50 years since the start of the BAM construction with a linkage of the new Dusse-Alinsky tunnel in the Khabarovsk Territory. The builders have connected the two sections excavated, using drill and blast tunnelling method, in permafrost conditions as part of the Baikal-Amur Mainline.

I would like to say a few words about the BAM development prospects.

Mr President,

Your instruction regarding the construction of facilities as part of the third stage of the Eastern Operating Domain has been fulfilled. Under the guidance of the Ministry of Transport and Russian Railways, Bamtonnelstroy has now joined a new project of the century. The company will build Russia’s largest infrastructure facilities, funded with private investment: the second Severomuisky tunnel, the second Kodarsky tunnel, the bridge over the Amur River and the Kuznetsovsky tunnel.

Bamtonnelstroy places special emphasis on developing social infrastructure for the builders as well as for local residents, such as sports and recreation facilities, health centres, kindergartens, and we even plan to build a maternity hospital.

The implementation of the third stage of the Eastern Operating Domain will give a new impetus to the socioeconomic development of Siberia and the Far East, creating about 100,000 jobs in those regions.

Thank you very much, Mr President. All our plans will definitely be fulfilled.


Adviser to General Director of Russian Railways Gennady Fadeyev: Mr President,

Thank you for presenting me with this high decoration.

I would like to use this opportunity, as we met yesterday with you and President of Azerbaijan [Ilham] Aliyev and discussed a lot (it was great to meet with all the former workers and engineers), to ask everyone present, everyone who came to meet you (perhaps someone is meeting you for the first time), to thank our President for his colossal efforts aimed at developing our country and defence.

Let us wish him good health for many years to come. To our President!


Vladimir Putin: Friends,

First of all, I would like to congratulate everyone decorated, and I want to congratulate all the BAM workers on the anniversary.

There is nothing more satisfying than seeing the results of your work. We have gathered today to honour builders, BAM workers in particular. The anniversary of this grand project is a special event. This is a project, when people who dedicated their whole lives to this work, can see the results of this work and the results of their lives.

Almost all those decorated whispered in my ear: “I serve Russia!” Thank you for your service.

Thank you.

April 23, 2024, The Kremlin, Moscow